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This week in farm to school: 12/8/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 


Grants & Funding
1. “Seeds of Native Health” Promising Program Grant and Capacity Building Grant 
The Notah Begay III Foundation’s national program, Native Strong: Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures is pleased to announce its 2016 “Seeds of Native Health” Promising Program Grant and Capacity Building Grant Request For Applications (RFA).  Thanks to the generous support of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and their recently launched national campaign, “Seeds of Native Health”, the NB3F will provide needed investment to Tribal Nations and Native American organizations working to improve nutrition and access to healthy foods for their children and communities. Promising Program Grants ($40,000 each) will focus on existing healthy food/nutrition programming that engages Native American youth. The Capacity Building Grants ($20,000 each) will focus on community health assessments and community planning around healthy food/nutrition. Both grants are one year long. The application deadline for both grant opportunities is January 22, 2016. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Save the Date: 2016 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Save the date for the 2016 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, to be held June 2-4, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is a biennial event that convenes a diverse group of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement who are working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. The conference is hosted by the National Farm to School Network, in partnership with local host organizations. Registration opens Feb 15, 2016.

2. Slow Food USA: School Garden Spring Break: April 1-3, 2016 Charlotte, NC
Join the National School Garden Program team and school garden champions from across the country at Slow Food USA's first ever train-the-trainer school garden conference. Come and learn more about the Slow Food approach to school gardens, edible education, and school food and bring it all back to your community. Through a mix of hands-on workshops, field trips, and classroom-style training, we will provide information on our curriculum, projects and models, and give chapters and schools the opportunity to showcase their work. Would you like to attend or nominate someone to attend? Please fill out this google form application or share it with your Slow Food network of teachers and school garden leaders. Applications are due December 31. 

3. Montana Farm to School Summit, Sep. 22-23, 2016, Bozeman, MT
Mark your calendar for the Montana Farm to School Summit: Sprouting Success to be held on September 22-23, 2016 at Montana State University in Bozeman. Learn and share how Montana schools and programs are sprouting success through the core elements of farm to school--serving local foods, school gardens, and nutrition, agriculture, and food education. Workshops, field trips, and networking opportunities will provide inspiration and skill building.  This conference is hosted by Montana Team Nutrition Program, Montana State University, Montana Office of Public Instruction, and Gallatin Valley Farm to School. Registration opens January 2016.


Research & Resources
1. New Union of Concerned Scientists video
A new video from the Union of Concerned Scientists takes viewers on a wild ride through the food system, connecting the dots between diet-related diseases, exploitation of food workers, and diminishing opportunities for family farmers. Join Dr. Ricardo Salvador, director of the Food and Environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, on a journey into the heart of the dysfunctional American food system in this new video
 

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Director, Minnesota Food Charter Network
The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute at the University of Minnesota is seeking a new director for the Minnesota Food Charter Network. This position will foster the development of the Minnesota Food Charter Network and implementation of Food Charter strategies, represent the Minnesota Food Charter Network in communities, manage budget and business operations, and provide direct support to multiple teams charged with various Minnesota Food Charter Network responsibilities. For more information on this position click here. (Job ID: 305825)


Read past editions of This Week  for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country. 

Giving Thanks

NFSN Staff Thursday, December 03, 2015

By Anupama Joshi, Executive Director and Co-Founder

On behalf of the entire National Farm to School Network, the farm to school practitioners we support, and the kids and farmers who benefit from our work, thank you for joining us on Giving Tuesday and generously contributing to our efforts.
 
We raised more than $12,000 in ONE WEEK thanks to the support of farm to school champions like you and a match from Newman's Own Foundation. And we’re not done! 

Through the end of December, you can help us reach our end-of-year goal to raise a total of $15,000 by making a tax-deductible donation that will go toward network development to strengthen this grassroots movement, resources and trainings for farm to school practitioners across the country, and policy advocacy at the state and federal level.

As we near the end of the year, I am thankful for the many contributions and successes our team has made in 2015. Here’s a glimpse of some of our big wins for the farm to school movement: 

  • National Policy: Introduced the Farm to School Act of 2015 with bipartisan and bicameral support in Washington, D.C., and we are continuing work on the Child Nutrition Act reauthorization to expand opportunities for connecting kids with healthy food and nutrition education
  • State-level Support: Launched Seed Change, our first targeted state-level initiative to grow farm to school activities and develop strong networks of support 
  • Focus on Early Care and Education: Strengthened our engagement in early childhood education and care with dedicated program staff to elevate farm to early care and education at the national level and work with key partners to research and identify innovative strategies
  • Farm to School Month: Expanded public awareness by sharing the farm to school message with more than 3.5 million people during National Farm to School Month 
  • Leadership Development: Gathered our network of farm to school leaders from across the country in Chicago for two days of targeted training, resource sharing and partnership, including a cohort of Native communities 
In 2016, we look forward to hosting the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, releasing new data from a national survey of early care and education settings, re-launching our educational webinar series and starting a strategic planning process to guide the future of NFSN and the farm to school movement.  
 
We need your help to continue this important work.

We wouldn't be here without the incredible generosity of our supporters. Thank you for being a part of the National Farm to School Network and contributing to vibrant communities, and healthy kids, farms and families! 

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USDA Farm to School Grants Awarded

NFSN Staff Wednesday, December 02, 2015

In 2013, Alaska Gateway School District received a USDA Farm to School Planning Grant to assess the area’s existing food supply chain, and used the funds to develop a business plan for sustainable farm to school activities – like growing their own produce, and eventually sourcing 40 percent of the school’s food from within Alaska. With 92 percent of Alaska Gateway students on the free and reduced meal plan, school meals are a particularly important source of overall nutrition for these kids.

Two weeks ago, the Alaska Gateway School District found out that they received a USDA Farm to School Implementation Grant to carry out their procurement plan and scale up their farm to school work. The grant will allow them to continue educating students in agriculture and nutrition, as well as grow fresh fruits and vegetables in a year-round greenhouse that can withstand harsh winter temperatures that sometimes dip to -70 degrees Fahrenheit.

A total of 74 communities in 39 states received USDA Farm to School grants in November, and now have a similar opportunity to explore, expand, or scale up their farm to school activities. The 2016 awards total $4.8 million, ranging in size from $15,000 to $100,000, and will impact 2.9 million students. The USDA Farm to School Grant program has always been highly competitive, and the 2016 grants were no exception; 271 applications were submitted from school districts and communities around the country.

While this year’s funding will reach 5,211 schools, there are thousands more eager to have access to these crucial funds. These schools use the grants to invest in their local communities by creating relationships with farmers and ranchers and buying their products. That is why the National Farm to School Network is working with a bipartisan and bicameral group of Congressional champions to incorporate the Farm to School Act of 2015 into the reauthorization package for the Child Nutrition Act.

This bill will increase access to the farm to school grant program and small business opportunities for veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers, as well as expand the grant program’s flexibility to support preschool, summer and after school sites so that all students have access to a healthy future and strong communities like this new group of grantees we are celebrating. 

The National Farm to School Network has connected with supporters on both sides of the aisle to demonstrate the importance of the Farm to School Act and farm to school in general. Watch some of the movement’s champions discuss the benefits of farm to school here: Rep Westerman (R-AR)Rep. Delbene (D-WA)Rep. Davis (R-IL),  Rep. Pingree (D-ME)Rep. Stefanik (R-NY)Rep. Garamendi (D-CA). The Farm to School Act also has strong grassroots backing with hundreds of local and national non-profits signing our petition to Congress in support of this bill.

Help us continue to support federal policies that strengthen farm to school by donating to the National Farm to School Network this season of giving. Your donation supports healthy kids and vibrant local food systems. Together, we can help grow healthy kids, farmers and communities. 

Donate Now

This week in farm to school: 12/1/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 


Webinars & Events
1. Proposals now being accepted for National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Organizers of the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference are seeking proposals for workshops, posters and lightning talks to feature during the two-day gathering in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the premier gathering of individuals and organizations working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Cafeterias in schools and early care, colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons and other institutional settings serve tens of millions of Americans every day, placing the farm to cafeteria movement at the forefront of the fight to end obesity and strengthen local food systems. The 2016 conference theme Moving Forward Together lifts up new and innovative partnerships to continue building momentum and ensure long-term sustainability in the movement. The application period closes this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 at 11:59pm ET. Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.

2. Webinar: National Farm to School Network
Funding Partnerships: Farm to School & Farm Credit
Tuesday, Dec. 8, 12pm CST
Join the National Farm to School Network and Farm Credit for a webinar highlighting innovative ways to partner with you local Farm Credit association, and learn how your program can grow with creative funding and partnership opportunities. Register here

3. Webinar: School Food FOCUS
Maximize Your Procurement Dollars through Regional Purchasing - School Food and Forward Contracting
Thursday, Dec. 10, 1-2pm EST
Forward contracting establishes a price to be paid for a certain quantity of product to be provided at a future date. Learn how forward contracting can help maximize your procurement budget and support local farmers at the same time. Speakers will highlight the benefits and challenges of forward contracting school food and demonstrate how to write forward contracts. School Food FOCUS is a national collaborative that leverages the knowledge and procurement power of large school districts to make school meals nationwide more healthful, regionally sourced, and sustainably produced. Register here

4. Webinar recording: Oregon Food Bank
FEAST webinar: Farm to School
Oregon Food Bank recently hosted an introductory webinar about farm to school, with speakers including Megan Kemple (NFSN’s Oregon State Lead), Rick Sherman (Farm to School & School Garden Coordinator, Oregon Dept. of Education), and Amy Gilroy (Farm to School Manager, Oregon Dept. of Education). A recording of the webinar is available here


Farm to school in the news
10 Champions of the Local Food Movement - shoutout to our Executive Director and Co-Founder, Anupama Joshi! 
Behind the local and urban food movement stand hundreds of people, each adding their own unique momentum. From urban farms in the city, to activists and writers, each of these people contributes something to a brighter future of food. See Bright Agrotech’s top 10 list of local food movement champions here

From The Farm To The City: A Thanksgiving Bounty For The Hungry
Last week, 200 Florida students harvested local collard greens and sweet potatoes, and packaged freshly ground corn meal and grits, to share with hungry families in their community on Thanksgiving. (via NorthEscambia.com)

Read past editions of This Week  for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country. 

This week in farm to school: 11/24/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 



Grants & Funding
1. OFRF Invites Proposals for Organic Farming and Food System Research
The Organic Farming Research Foundation is dedicated to fostering the widespread adoption and improvement of organic farming systems in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. To that end, OFRF provides funding for research on organic farming and food systems and the dissemination of those research results to organic farmers and the greater agricultural and research communities. One-year grants of up to $15,000 are available for research projects related to agricultural production and/or a social, economic, or policy-related topic of concern to organic farmers and/or ranchers. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Proposals now being accepted for National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Organizers of the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference are seeking proposals for workshops, posters and lightning talks to feature during the two-day gathering in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the premier gathering of individuals and organizations working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Cafeterias in schools and early care, colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons and other institutional settings serve tens of millions of Americans every day, placing the farm to cafeteria movement at the forefront of the fight to end obesity and strengthen local food systems. The 2016 conference theme Moving Forward Together lifts up new and innovative partnerships to continue building momentum and ensure long-term sustainability in the movement. The application period is open now through Dec. 4, 2015. Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.

2. Webinar: National Farm to School Network
Funding Partnerships: Farm to School & Farm Credit
Tuesday, Dec. 8, 12pm CST
Join the National Farm to School Network and Farm Credit for a webinar highlighting innovative ways to partner with you local Farm Credit association, and learn how your program can grow with creative funding and partnership opportunities. Register here

3. Webinar: School Food FOCUS 
Maximize Your Procurement Dollars through Regional Purchasing: School Food and Forward Contracting
Thursday, Dec. 10, 1pm ET
Forward contracting establishes a price to be paid for a certain quantity of product to be provided at a future date. Learn how forward contracting can help maximize your procurement budget and support local farmers at the same time. Speakers will highlight the benefits and challenges of forward contracting school food, and demonstrate how to write forward contracts. Register here

4. 7th National Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Conference
Save the date for the 7th National Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA) Conference, to be held July 29-31, 2016 in Santa Cruz, Calif. This year’s theme — “The Ecology of Food Systems” — highlights the growing demand for inclusive and critical approaches to sustainable agriculture and food education at the postsecondary level. SAEA has a strong tradition of focusing on interdisciplinary and experiential learning from a systems thinking perspective. In 2016, the conference will emphasize issues of social justice and equity. For more information about the SAEA and past conferences please visit SAEA’s website.


Research & Resources
1. New resources: Parents for Healthy Schools, CDC Healthy School
Parents have a powerful role in supporting children’s health and learning. Parents for Healthy Schools is a set of resources, developed by CDC Healthy Schools and partners, that school groups (e.g., PTA/PTO, school wellness committee) can use to motivate and educate parents to create a healthy school environment for their children. View the resources here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Education Specialist, Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom
The Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation seeks a part-time Education Specialist to join their team.  The purpose of the position is to work with the Executive Director in the continued development and expansion of the program. They’re looking for a professional to assist with designing curriculum and managing resources available toOregon teachers in an effective and appealing manner. Learn more here


Farm to school in the news
How schools are using gardens to teach math
Los Cerritos Elementary School in Long Beach, Calif. has a 48,000 square-foot school garden where students learn math, social studies, science and more. For a half-hour every week, each of Los Cerritos’s classes visit the garden. (via The Atlantic)

Farm to school changes school lunch for the better in Oregon
Farm to school initiatives are changing the way kids eat in Oregon, making school lunches healthy and delicious. Check out this video clip of Portland Public Schools Nutrition Services Director, Gitta Grether-Sweeney talking about the changes. (via KATU.com)

Students dig farm-to-table learning
As school subjects go, food production — from garden or farm to table or fork — offers something for a wide variety of students. In Idaho, middle school students take on technical topics like integrated pest management and designing aquaponics systems. (via Idaho Press-Tribune)


Read past editions of This Week  for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country. 

Announcing the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

NFSN Staff Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Save the date! The 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Madison, Wis., June 2-4 2016.

Cafeterias in schools, universities, prisons, hospitals and childcare centers serve more than 40 million Americans every day during the school year, placing the farm to cafeteria movement at the forefront of the fight to end obesity and strengthen local food systems. Think of it this way: a single school district often feeds more people in a day than all of a city’s restaurants combined. The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the only national gathering of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement, making it the premiere opportunity to learn, network and collaborate with likeminded leaders from across the country.

This biennial event will convene more than 1,500 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Attendees will include food service professionals, farmers and food producers, educators, policy makers, entrepreneurs, students and youth leaders, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals, and others engaged in the farm to cafeteria movement. 

The program will include 40+ workshops in a variety of topical tracks and formats, exciting plenary addresses delivered by leaders in the farm to cafeteria and local food movements, networking opportunities, a series of 5-minute “lightning talks,” a poster session and resource share fair, entertainment options and an evening reception showcasing Madison’s vibrant local food culture. The 2016 conference theme Moving Forward Together lifts up new and innovative partnerships to continue building momentum and ensure long-term sustainability in the movement.

Do you have farm to cafeteria expertise to share? We’re seeking workshop, poster and lightning talk proposals from individuals and organizations working to improve our food system, strengthen community health, empower youth, build equity and increase opportunities for farmers to share their expertise, successes and learnings with the farm to cafeteria movement. The Request for Proposals (RFP) is open now through Dec. 4, 2015.

Registration for the conference will open Feb. 15, 2016 – mark your calendars now! Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.  

This week in farm to school: 11/17/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 



Grants & Funding
1. 2016 USDA Farm to School Grant Awards Announced
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced $4.8 million in grants for 74 projects spanning 39 states that support USDA’s efforts to connect child nutrition programs with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School Program. For the 2016 school year, grants will serve more than 5,211 schools and 2.9 million students, nearly 40 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Awards ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 are distributed in four different grant categories: Planning, Implementation, Support Service, and Training. For a complete list of 2016 Farm to School Grant recipients, see the 2016 Farm to School Grants summary page. Read the USDA press release here

2. OFRF Invites Proposals for Organic Farming and Food System Research
The Organic Farming Research Foundation is dedicated to fostering the widespread adoption and improvement of organic farming systems in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. To that end, OFRF provides funding for research on organic farming and food systems and the dissemination of those research results to organic farmers and the greater agricultural and research communities. One-year grants of up to $15,000 are available for research projects related to agricultural production and/or a social, economic, or policy-related topic of concern to organic farmers and/or ranchers. Learn more here

3. NEA Foundation Invites Applications for Learning and Leadership Grants
The NEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the National Education Association, is a public charity supported by contributions from educators' dues, corporate sponsors, and others. The foundation supports student success by helping public school educators work with key partners to build strong systems of shared responsibility.As part of its effort to achieve this goal, the foundation is inviting applications for its Learning and Leadership Grants program. Grant amounts are $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups engaged in collegial study. Learn more here

4. Citi Foundation Announces $20 Million Community Progress Makers Fund
The Community Progress Makers Fund is a $20 million, two-year initiative by the Citi Foundation to support high potential community organizations that are transforming low-income communities by bringing together residents, nonprofits, businesses, and municipal agencies to accelerate urban progress and drive economic opportunity. The Fund will provide up to $500,000 in core operating support over two years to cutting-edge organizations in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Proposals now accepted for National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Organizers of the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference are seeking proposals for workshops, posters and lightning talks to feature during the two-day gathering in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the premier gathering of individuals and organizations working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Cafeterias in schools and early care, colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons and other institutional settings serve tens of millions of Americans every day, placing the farm to cafeteria movement at the forefront of the fight to end obesity and strengthen local food systems. The 2016 conference theme Moving Forward Together lifts up new and innovative partnerships to continue building momentum and ensure long-term sustainability in the movement. The application period is open now through Dec. 4, 2015. Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.

2. National CACFP Conference, Orlando, Florida, April 21-23, 2016 
Are you on staff at a Family Child Care or Center Sponsor Agency, Head Start, Independent Center, Tribal Agency, At-Risk / Afterschool, State Agency, Summer Food Service, Food Bank, or Emergency Shelter? Join over 1,000 members of the child nutrition community in Orlando, Florida next April for an incredible few days of training, networking, and learning opportunities. The conference is presented by the National CACFP Sponsors Association in cooperation with the USDA & the National Professionals Association. Early registration closes Feb. 15, 2016. Learn more here


Research & Resources
1. USDA Funding and Resources Demonstrate Commitment to New Farmers and Ranchers
USDA has announced that it will prioritize $5.6 billion over the next two years for programs and services that serve new and beginning farmers and ranchers. USDA has also unveiled a web tool at www.usda.gov/newfarmers to connect new farmers with programs and resources available. The site features advice and guidance on writing a business plan, obtaining a loan, and filing taxes. Farmers can use the Discovery Tool for personalized recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs.

2. National Food Policy Scorecard, Food Policy Action 
Food Policy Action released its National Food Policy Scorecard today, a go-to source for information about the most important food legislation considered by the House and Senate and how all members of Congress voted on those issues. The scorecard reflects the consensus of top food policy experts who select the key food policy votes each year, including issues of domestic and international hunger, food safety, food access, farm subsidies, animal welfare, food and farm labor, nutrition, food additives, food transparency, local and regional food production, organic farming and the effects of food production on the environment. The National Food Policy Scorecard lets you identify which legislators are working for sensible food policies. View the scorecard here

3. Farm to School Program Models survey
Two Vermont Farm to School non-profit organizations are doing research on other organizations that earn revenue from providing a variety of services to schools. As they refine their business models to reach more schools in a more sustainable manner, they are looking to learn from similar organizations throughout the US who are paid by schools to deliver educational programming, professional development, school garden curricula, etc. Please share this survey, and specifically to any organizations you know of who fit the criteria. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PNVBHZT The survey will close in mid-November. 


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Education Program Manager, Hudson Valley Farm Hub
The Hudson Valley Farm Hub (Farm Hub), a 1,255-acre working farm in Hurley, NY that provides training for new and existing farmers, supports research and demonstration of new practices, and serves as a resource to advance local food and farming. The Farm Hub is seeking an Education Program Manager. S/He will be responsible for developing and managing educational programming as well as assisting with some teaching and serving as a representative of the Farm Hub. Learn more and apply  here

2. Creating Healthy Communities Outreach Coordinator, Cornell University Cooperative Extension
Under guidance from Nutrition and Consumer Science Team Coordinator, work with internal and external collaborators to facilitate community based environmental changes that support healthy behaviors. Build support for obesity and diabetes prevention with decision-makers, elected officials, other stakeholders and community members to influence policy changes. Learn more and apply here

3. Farm Manager, Mills College
This position is responsible for directing and overseeing the planning, implementation and operation of the Mills College Urban Farm. The Farm Manager directs and coordinates all activities related to the farm including assisting faculty with curriculum development and coordinating community outreach events. Learn more and apply here


Farm to school in the news
Ugly tomatoes produce marinara students will enjoy
Instead of wasting in the fields, local blemished, bruised and misshapen tomatoes will make 18,000 gallons of marinara sauce for the university dining services at Harvard and Tufts. Read how NFSN Massachusetts State Co-Lead Simca Horwitz helped connect the farmers, processors and dining service directors. (via Boston Globe)

Producers give school lunch menu a beef boost
At one rural Nebraska school, the hamburgers children eat at lunch taste a little fresher than the fare eaten by their peers across the state. The beef on trays at Thayer Central Community Schools in Hebron is raised exclusively in Nebraska and donated by local ranchers. (via Midwest Producer)

Farm to School program grows
Beloit’s Farm to School program is helping to bring in locally-produced fresh fruits and vegetables to its classes and lunchrooms. Using grant funds, the district was able to hire a nutrition educator and is forming a task force to promote fresh food and nutrition. (via Beloit Daily News

Read past editions of This Week  for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country. 

Building farm to school policy in Hawai’i

NFSN Staff Thursday, November 12, 2015
 Photo credit: Hawai'i Governor's Office
From reimbursements for locally sourced school meals to clarity on food safety regulations, state policies are an effective tool for growing robust farm to school program that connect children with fresh, healthy food and support local food producers. The National Farm to School Network is proud to provide the resources, information and support needed for farm to school advocates to achieve state policy success. 

Here’s a recent example: in 2014, a group of farm to school advocates from Hawai’i attended our National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Austin, Texas, where they learned about state legislation and its power to affect change. Energized and filled with new ideas, they left the conference and began identifying their policies needs – like the need for an official state farm to school coordinator to orchestrate the multiple programmatic efforts happening around Hawai’i.

With a policy goal identified, the National Farm to School Network worked with Hawai’i leaders and offered resources and information to drive their legislative process forward. Our  “Benefits of Farm to School” and “Farm to School Advocacy” factsheets proved to be helpful tools for raising awareness of farm to school activities and encouraging Hawaiians to become politically active in the farm to school movement. Our network of state and regional leads offered the Hawai’i leaders insight on how other states fund farm to school positions. And, our Policy Team provided written testimony to be considered by lawmakers as the bill made its way through the legislative process. 

In July 2015, all of the hard work paid off. The bill unanimously passed both Hawai’i legislative chambers, creating a statewide farm to school program and providing funds for a farm to school program coordinator position in the Department of Agriculture. In addition to signing the bill into law, Hawai’i Governor David Ige made a proclamation in support of farm to school. Proclamations like this can often lead to greater awareness of farm to school activities in states and ideally, grow stronger statewide support in the form of resources and legislation.

Legislative wins don’t always come this easily. That’s why the National Farm to School Network is committed to building upon its tools and resources that help set up farm to school champions for policy success. There are now more than 40 states with enacted farm to school legislation, including Oregon and Louisiana – two additional states that passed strong farm to school legislation this year. Learn about every enacted, defeated and pending farm to school-related bill from 2002-2014 in our State Farm to School Legislative Survey

Help us continue to support state policies that strengthen farm to school by giving to the National Farm to School Network on #GivingTuesday. Donate on Tuesday, Dec. 1 and Newman's Own Foundation will match all gifts up to $10,000. Together, we can help kids, farmers and communities in every state thrive. 

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